The Shining Path


The weather people didn’t have good news for the bikin' fools who planned the December moonride for Friday. A major Pacific storm was to hit northern California about the time that Sebastion would be able to make yet another heroic, all day drive from Portland to be in attendance for this attempt at a good time. Although the Lady of the Night carried the group of six safely through the event, the funnometer experienced rare sag. The conditions were wet and core members of the group were notably missing. Michel drove from Berkeley. Jim Korte arrived lobbying for tarpage and dinner on the trail. Dr. J and Lindsey arrived at Eric’s place in the big van.

The notion of dinner on the trail, in the rain was a hard sell. It became apparent that food wasn’t going to happen. Mike and Linz had already feasted on Cali Inn burgers, enough food for days. Tanya could see that confusion ruled the lunatistas and proceeded to produce a meal just in case the bikers couldn’t come to a decision. During the food decision dilemma, it also became noted that the ride had yet to be chosen. The original ride discussed was the Maacama ridge run. However the weather simply didn’t support that route. Finally the group admitted that Harbin was the only choice.

The group of six drove to the heli-pad and proceeded to ride towards the campground on road 500. There was debate about which route to take.  The evening was young and the riders, except Lindsey were eager. Single track was calling. The group headed uphill. After a short climb the riders began to slip into the woods. At the top of the hill, Jim and Eric made an ill-fated call. The track lead to nowhere and confusion ensued in the wet, dark woods. The trail had to be somewhere. After a short period of search the group, one-by-one reconvened on the trail. As the trail turned to single track the way became less obvious.

The evening had a subdued feeling, yet joy lurked in the soft shadows. The cloudy wet night was warm and aglow in diffused moonlight. The path was faint and mysterious, often not visible. The group made slow progress through the forest. Lindsey was using extra caution related no doubt to a puddle plunge that he experienced early in the ride. Crew trail yielded to John’s trail which eventually came to Big Springs trail. However the decision was made to take the fire road instead of the single track. In part the light was sketchy and B.S. trail was challenging in the best of conditions. As the crew descended down the fire road, it seemed to be going in the wrong direction. After a considerable amount of altitude was lost, Jim declared; “This has got to be the wrong way!”  Shortly thereafter the road sign appeared. The crew was on course, though it didn’t seem so.

The bikers pedaled a short way up road 100 to Big Springs. The water flowed freely from the mountain as the bikers stopped briefly to appreciate the moonride experience. The ride thus far was in the soup. The wet, misty clouds blew softly through the trees. The light was weak yet adequate. The trail from Big Springs to the east Harbin turn was challenging and wet. Several deep puddles threatened to dampen the riders. Everyone made the transit safely to Dryer’s Cabin. The crew stopped and discussed the possibility of building a fire and warming up. However the notion of the hot tubs nearby won the debate. The road past Al’s Place (a remote, uninhabited dwelling) was in passable condition. It descended steeply down into the valley below. The valley that awaited the entrance of “Moonlight Theater”. What followed would take a ho-hum moonride into the annuals of once-in-a-lifetime event.

Korte opted to pass on the hot tub experience. He jetted out of the compound while the others pedaled up to the campus. The bikes were stowed slightly out of sight and the five remaining volunteers proceeded to enjoy the soothing hot waters. There were few people in the pools. The area of the pools was void of people although a nervous lady walked tersely around the compound. She seemed to be on a mission.

The rain was gentle and soft as the bikers relaxed in the soothing water. It was a pleasant moment to dwell on the ride. There was not a sense of greatness about the event but the feeling of benediction was present. No matter the ride, it is always nice to gather under the moon and share this special time with bikin brethren. The vision of the shining path in the woods stood out. It was a special insight and metaphor for this life. When all seems dark and indefinable, often if one lets go of the normal and standard ways of seeing the world, the path becomes visible. It is luminescent when one quits trying to see and simply allows the eyes to be open. It is a tricky and interesting process of staying on the path, on course. When the night seems at its darkest, the path is always there.

The five tired and satisfied lunatistas returned to the bikes for the exit. When the first person tried to move the first bike, it was quickly discovered that it was LOCKED. Dang, that seemed strange. A flashlight attached to a short, pissed-off woman under a huge umbrella approached.

“Did you pay to get in here?” She demanded, her voice stressed.

Agent Johnson was assigned the task of negotiating with the fired up lady. She continued her rant. “You know I could call the sheriff and have you all arrested for trespass!”

“Er,” Dr. J. said meekly, “That would be a little harsh.”

The lady ranted for what seemed like several minutes. Finally a crack in the armor appeared with the statement that she would unlock the bikes if the bikers paid. Dr. J. mentioned that he didn’t have much money.  “Well, pay what you have.” She said adamantly. That made sense. Finally she radioed Checkpoint Charley and announced that the bikers would be appearing to pay for the release of the bikes.

Again Dr. J. employed deft and international character in negotiating the release of the five bikes for a total of twenty five dollars. It could have been ten times that amount. The momentarily tense situation gave way again to a sense of other worldly experience. It was fitting that the outcome of this minor situation would be serendipitously favorable. The riders once again began to roll on the two wheels that have carried the lunatistas through so many interesting and varied rides. The moon was never seen however her energy and influence once again provided the forum for a exceptional moonlight mountain bike ride.